SRINAGAR — In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court has upheld the Central government’s move from 2019 to annul the special semi-autonomous status accorded to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. The apex court declared that the special status granted to the region was a “temporary provision.”
The ruling also emphasized the necessity of placing Jammu and Kashmir on equal footing with other Indian states at the earliest, mandating local elections to be held by September 30, 2024.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded the Supreme Court’s verdict through social media on Monday, referring to it as “a beacon of hope, a promise of a brighter future, and a testament to our collective resolve to build a stronger, more united India.”
The case revolved around over 20 petitions that contested the contentious abrogation of Article 370 in 2019 by the government at the Centre led by Modi. The petitioners raised concerns about the Indian Parliament’s authority to revoke the region’s special status, arguing that only the constituent assembly of Jammu and Kashmir held the right to decide on such matters.
Under Article 370, Jammu and Kashmir, with its Muslim-majority populace, had enjoyed distinct privileges, including limited autonomy, a separate constitution, and inherited protections related to land and employment.
Following the annulment of Article 370, direct governance from New Delhi was imposed on Jammu and Kashmir. The region was bifurcated into two federal territories: Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir, both administered directly by the Central government without individual legislative assemblies.
The Supreme Court’s ruling signifies a significant legal validation of the government’s decision, concluding a prolonged legal battle over the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.